Condensation in your basement is one issue that needs to be resolved before you consider remodeling or finishing your basement. You need to ensure that there are no problems with humidity or dampness. If you do have condensation in your basement, join the club because basement dampness is a problem that is common to homeowners. It is recommended that you take care of any condensation problems regardless of whether you plan to remodel your basement because it can turn into a much more costly problem if ignored.
Often time’s people notice that their basement is a bit wet, but they are not sure whether it is related to condensation or to a leak. If you notice that your basement walls are damp on occasion then your problem could be the result of condensation rather than water seepage. This is especially true if they are damp on humid days when the windows are open.
Condensation is caused when warm air (carrying more moisture than cool air) begins to build up and as it cools it releases moisture. Think of the dew on your lawn as an example. The dew is formed from moisture that was in the air until overnight temperatures dropped to the point where the air could not hold all of that moisture. In your basement, the same thing happens when warm moist air come sin contact with cool walls.
Before you can resolve a condensation problem, you must first find out if it is indeed a condensation problem. Follow the steps below the test it out:
- Securely tape a 10" x 10" piece of plastic wrap onto the basement wall in an area where you have noticed dampness.
- Seal the edges of the plastic wrap with the tape.
- Check on the plastic over the next few days.
- Moisture on the wall side of the plastic: leak.
- Moisture on the room side of the plastic: condensation problem.
If you come to find out that your problem is the result of condensation, you can usually solve your problem by reducing the moisture in the air and/or improving the ventilation (air circulation). Try opening up lower level windows during hot humid days and also it may help to set up some fans in the basement to get the air circulating better. Basement exhaust fans are a great way to reduce basement condensation, especially if you have a basement shower that gets a lot of use.
In addition, you should spot out any potential sources of basement moisture in or near the basement. For example, indoor clothes lines can be moved outdoors during the summer months and your dryer exhaust vent should be checked for leaks. Also, make sure your dryer exhaust vent is releasing exhaust outdoors. Some dryers give you the option of exhausting indoors or outdoors so make sure that you have it switched to outdoors during summer months. Lastly, check for plumbing leaks because basement moisture is sometimes caused from them as well.
If you there are no obvious sources causing the excess water in your basement, your best bet is to increase your air circulation. If you have air-conditioning vents leading into your basement, make sure that the vents are open and air is coming out. If you do not have air-conditioning vents in your basement, it is usually easy to create a couple of vents. Keep in mind, if your basement is packed with stuff than it will be hard for the air to circulate about. You should consider removing some of the clutter, especially along the basement walls.
Lastly, you can reduce condensation in your basement by insulating exposed duct work, pipes, and walls. You should consider insulating anywhere that water tends to condense. Think about it, if the warm moist air is prohibited from coming in contact with a cold service, then it won't release water as condensation.
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